Xerox plans to transfer 600 jobs to Indian outsourcer

Affected Xerox employees face choice of taking a job with HCL or face possible pink slips

Xerox has told about 600 employees that if they don't agree to transfer to an Indian outsourcer they may face unemployment.

In May, Xerox told employees in its product engineering group that it was in outsourcing talks with India-based IT services firm HCL Technologies.

According to Xerox, HCL will assume responsibility for certain aspects of Xerox's mechanical, electrical and software engineering activities. HCL already does some IT outsourcing work for the company.

The affected employees work in California, New York, Oregon and the Netherlands. In one location, Webster, N.Y., about 250 employees are affected, making it one of the hardest hit divisions.

Xerox said that employees who transfer to HCL will remain in their current locations.

Since the initial announcement, Xerox has provided the employees with more detail about what's ahead for them.

A Xerox spokesman said employees have the option of transferring to HCL or participating a "voluntary leave program." The program was announced June 1, and they will have a minimum of 45 days to decide whether to participate. The company said it expects "a modest" number to leave.

A final agreement with HCL has not been reached, Xerox said, but employees see the outsourcing plan as a done deal.

One Xerox employee told Computerworld that many contract employees at the company will be affected. Meanwhile, affected Xerox workers have been told they can't apply for other jobs at the company, which has frustrated workers.

Xerox CEO Ursula Burns was appointed last year by President Obama as vice chairman of the President's Export Panel, which is advising the administration on how to increase U.S. exports.

HCL reached a similar outsourcing agreement with a North Carolina company, Dex One. The company plans to cut about 30% of its IT staff, but is not disclosing the size of the cut.

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

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